Naming Your Book


Your book is written, the manuscript is in the final editing stages, and it’s time to finally nail down the official title of your work. Perhaps you’ve been using a working title, but its incredibly important that you sit down with multiple people in the business (your publisher, literary agent, trusted writer friends, unbiased professionals, people in your target audience, etc.) to develop the perfect title. Because the fact of the matter is…

There’s nothing more important than a strong, engaging title.

Potential readers consume in the following order: the title, the front and back covers, the first pages of content, and the price. If they aren’t grabbed by the title (and the front cover doesn’t make up for what the title lacks), then you’ve lost your potential customer.

So how do you develop and choose the most effective title for your book? Here are 11 things to consider when naming your book.

  1. Make a promise, create intrigue, identify a need, or simply state the content. (think PINC)
  2. Appeal to your target audience’s demographics and psychographics. It is of utmost importance to consider the following: gender, age grouping, education, race, breath or narrowness of religious doctrines, exact denominations, likes and dislikes of how that particular audience likes to buy or be sold to.
  3. Be unexpected. Your title shouldn’t be something so basic that a customer would easily glance over it. Your title should be enticing and engaging.
  4. Leave room for mystery. Don’t tell your audience exactly what or how to think about your book. Compel them to pick it up themselves.
  5. When deciding between going with what the majority of your largest target audience would like and what a lesser segment of your audience would like…choose the majority.
  6. Once you’ve narrowed down the possible selections to 5-8 possibilities, form a focus group of independent people within your target audience who are not bent towards you or your publishing team (not friends of yours), and ask them to consider your title options.
  7. Beware of not liking your own ideas and the ideas of your close friends (which may or may not also be your publishing team) so much that you agree with their ideas too quickly and blindly. Try to look at all of the options from an unbiased perspective.
  8. Be aware of any similarities that your publishing team might have with you. Force them (and yourself) to separate their mindsets to “think” like the majority within the target audience.
  9. Although a title that creates intrigue is great, consider all of the definitions or interpretations of the word or phrase. You don’t want to be blindsided by a less than pleasant definition or interpretation a couple months after your book launch.
  10. Particularly when writing nonfiction, always keep the “what’s in it for me” factor in the forefront of your considerations.
  11. Along with #10, heavily consider titles that seem to propose a solution. Why? Most readers of non-fiction or non-biographies are reading to engage and find answers.

Consider these things as you work on naming your next book. While the message of the book itself is what makes it your book, it’s the title that gets readers to pick it up in the first place. And we all need readers!

Do you have any suggestions for coming up with a book title? Leave your comments below!


Submitting Your Manuscript for Review


Ready to send your manuscript to a publisher for review? Don’t make the mistake of being under-prepared!

Manuscript submissions come in a myriad of shapes and sizes, but nothing frustrates a publisher more than having to sift through badly formatted submissions with little to zero introductions. When editing your manuscript, stick to a neat, uniform look that will invite your reviewer to read it, rather than confuse them with a cluttered format. Based on the mistakes and negligence of other writers who have come before you, check out some of these things not to do when you submit your manuscript.


  • Have blatant spelling and grammar mistakes throughout your manuscript or cover letter.
  • Send a manuscript lumped together as one paragraph (you’d be amazed what we’ve seen!).
  • Disregard the submission guidelines and instructions on the publisher’s website.
  • Send the manuscript in the body of an email.
  • Forget to research the type of books represented by the publisher.
  • Use strange colors or fonts – stick to something standard and easy to read.
  • Compare yourself to incredibly famous writers. Let the reviewer find those similarities.

The list goes on, but if your manuscript submission needs to have one thing—other than your work—it should always be accompanied by a cover letter.

Your cover letter should include the following:

Explanation of the book
Provide a concise summary of your book. What genre does it fall into? What is it about? Tell them about your work!

Author bio
Many of us dread writing about ourselves, but this doesn’t have to be your life’s story! Just write something brief that will help the publisher and your readers get to know you better as a writer.

Connections and credits
Is this your first or fifth book? Did your short story get published on a blog or in a magazine? Did you intern for a publishing company in the past? Are you friends with someone notable? Humbly mention any of your relevant connections and significant publishing credits.

Marketing plan
Explain what your ultimate goal is for promotion. Who is your target audience? How are you going to reach them? Even if you don’t have definitive answers on your future marketing goals,it says a lot that you are even thinking about it on your own. Furthermore, talk about what you are already doing to promote yourself. Are you on social media? Do you have a blog?

Why you? Why them?
Be sure to explain why you think that publisher is the right one for you, and why your book is a good fit for the publisher. Not only does this show your attentiveness to the publisher’s brand and mission statement, but it displays a certain kind of intentionality that’s refreshing to any reviewer.

Once you’ve crafted a cover letter, tidied up your manuscript, spell checked them both multiple times, and sent your submission to the publishing company, the final step is to be patient. Most publishers get numerous submissions a day, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a few weeks or even months. Feel free to follow up, but don’t become a nuisance. 

Hopefully all of your hard work and forethought will help your manuscript stand out amidst the rest!

Update & Praise Report

We’ve had an exciting week here at Certa Publishing!

This morning our team has been reflecting on God’s goodness and favor on Certa Publishing and our authors. Here’s a quick praise report of some of the happenings this week.

Two new authors signed:
Darryl Goode: “Grandpa and the Rainbow Fish”
Dr. Victor Morgan: “Holiness: The Hidden Path,” “Heaven’s Great Hope,” “The Wonderful Name of Jesus,” and “Praise and Worship”

Three books sent to press:
Worship That Touches the Heart of God” (Reprint of the English Version) by Nina Gardner
“Worship That Touches the Heart of God” (Spanish Version) by Nina Gardner

General updates:
– Author Paul Wilbur is in India preaching, teaching, and leading worship this week.
– Author Patrick McGuffin is in India on a mission trip for two weeks. (Not connected to Paul Wilbur’s trip)
– Author Bruce Lengeman led a webinar on Deliverance from Unholy Memories with International College of Ministry.
– Finalized Author Steve Wittmann’s manuscript.
Author Royalties sent in the mail!

Please join us as we continue to pray for our authors and the books the Lord has given them.

We are specifically praying our Lord would continue to open the right doors for them and these books would help advance the Kingdom of God.

How To Launch Your Book With At Least 25+ Amazon Reviews

We absolutely love this article and resource from Tim Grahl. Check it out and let us know if you  1) Want help implementing these ideas and/or  2) Have had success doing this!

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I was speaking with an Amazon employee recently.

I asked her, “What’s the most helpful thing an author can do to improve conversion of their book page?”

This is what she told me:

“By far, the most important thing an author can do is get more customer reviews.”

I was able to launch my own book with more than 25 book reviews on Day One, and recently saw it click past 200 customer reviews.

If your book hasn’t hit 200 reviews yet (or 25), don’t despair.

I’ve developed a tried and true method that will ensure that, when you launch your next book, you’ll immediately get more than 25 customer reviews the first day your book is released.

I’m going to walk you step-by-step through that process, so that you’ll have this system working for you when you launch your next book:


In coaching many authors through this process, I’ve found that it’s important to dissolve the common mental blocks that can try to keep you from success.

1. It’s OK to ask people to help you.
Of course, if you’re going to ask someone to write a review of your book, you need to it do it correctly and politely.

But that aside, it really is OK to ask someone to be a part of your book launch. The person on the other end is a grownup — they can say “No” if they need to.

Also, this is a huge event in your life! You’re publishing a book!

When you ask people to be a part of that — and trust them to give an honest, intelligent opinion — you’re actually paying them a compliment.

2. It’s not unethical to request Amazon reviews.
I’ve studied the official Amazon Review Creation Guidelines, and nothing that I recommend in this article breaks any of their rules.

3. You won’t be cannibalizing your book sales.
Having a lot of customer reviews reaps you more sales. It’s a great investment.

So don’t worry that the people you’re sending free review copies to would have otherwise paid for a copy. Most of them probably wouldn’t have bought a copy anyway — and now you’re getting a review from them!

4. Believe me, you can do this.
Everything I outline in this article is stuff any author can do.

Once you see how it works, you’ll realize that it’s a simple process that you can do over and over again, to get the same great results.

So now that we have our thinking straight, let’s jump in!


1. Start early.
Start this process at least 8 weeks before your book comes out.

2. Make a list of people to ask.
Make a list of all the people in your life whom you’d like to have review the book. This is the time to call in favors from friends, colleagues and family.

The great thing about Amazon reviews is, they all count the same!

Whether it’s a bestselling New York Times author or your crazy Aunt Martha, the reviews all look the same on the Amazon book page.

Bonus Tip: Put each name and email address onto a spreadsheet so you can keep track of the entire process.

How it works: In my experience, you need to ask about three times more people than the number of reviews you’re working for. So you need to come up with at least 75 names to end up with 25 reviews.

That number allows for the one-third who will say “No” to the request, and the one-third who will forget to put their review up on launch day.

3. Offer each of them a free copy of your book.
Email each of these people individually, and offer them a free Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) to review.

How you fulfill these orders is going to depend on your publisher or your means:

* If you’re self-published: I recommend sending out a .MOBI, .EPUB or .PDF file, with directions on how to open the file.

You’ll also want to order 15 to 20 print copies of the book for those who either can’t or won’t read it in digital format.

* If you’re traditionally published: Coordinate with your publisher on the best way to send out ARCs.

In most cases, they are not going to allow you to send out the digital file to readers, so you’ll be stuck with print copies. However, your publisher should ship these copies for you.

Below is the exact copy you can use to offer an ARC to everyone on your list.

SUBJECT: My New Book


Hope you’re doing well! [And other niceties . . . “It’s been a long time!” etc.]

Over the last [X MONTHS/YEARS], I’ve been working on a new book titled [TITLE OF YOUR BOOK].

I’m excited to announce that in just [X WEEKS] it’s going to be available on Amazon!

One of the most important things an author can do for their book is to launch it with a lot of Amazon customer reviews.

I’d love your help with this.

May I send you a free copy of my book to read? All I ask is that you leave your honest feedback/thoughts as a customer review on [XX/XX/XX <— pub date] — the day my book comes out.

[SELF-PUB] I’d be happy to send you a digital copy that you can read on any of your devices. Or, if you’d rather have a print copy, I have a few available. Just reply with your address and I’ll drop it in the mail right away.

[TRADE PUB] I’d be happy to send you a copy of the book. Just reply to this email with your mailing address and I’ll drop it in the mail right away.

Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions.

Thanks so much!


Send this as a personal email to each individual on your list.

Bonus Tip: Keep track of everything on your spreadsheet, including when you sent the original email, when they responded, what their response was and, if applicable, their mailing address.

How it works: You have to make the condition that, if they want a book, they have to agree to leave a review on Amazon on the launch date.

Because if you just send out books and hope people will leave reviews . . . they won’t.

Let them know up front that you are asking them for a review in return for the book.

4. Immediately send them a copy of the book.
Don’t delay. Immediately get the book sent to them via email or shipping, depending on which format they request.

Bonus Tip: Create a .ZIP file that includes the .MOBI, .EPUB and .PDF of your book, with a separate PDF with instructions on how to load the book onto their device. That will make your life easier.

Then whenever someone requests a review copy, you can immediately reply and attach the .ZIP file, and know they have everything they need.

How it works: You need to give them plenty of time to read the book, so get them a copyimmediately.

5. Put all of the reviewers on an email list.
Create an email list in MailChimp, or your email marketing platform of choice, and name it “ARC Reviewers.” From here on, you’ll want to be able to email them en masse.

But don’t add them to that MailChimp list until you’ve sent them their review copy.

6. Email your reviewers one week before launch date.
One week before your book launches, send an email to everyone on your ARC Reviewer list, reminding them of both your publication date and their commitment to leave a review.

You can do this in a very polite way. Here’s the copy I recommend using:

SUBJECT: One Week Left!


Thanks again for agreeing to review my new book [TITLE OF THE BOOK]!

I’m so excited to be putting this book out into the world next [DAY OF THE WEEK — TUESDAY, ETC].

I just wanted to follow up to see if you had any questions before you leave your review on launch day.

If you don’t know what to say in the review, just leave a couple sentences with your thoughts and feedback.

Also, be sure to mention that you received a free review copy of the book.

Have a great rest of the week!


How it works: This is a polite way to remind your reviewers that they agreed to leave a review on launch day.

And for those who forgot about their commitment to review the book, it lets them know that they still have a week to read it!

7. Email them early on your launch day.
The night before your book launch, schedule an email to go out to your ARC Reviewer MailChimp list at 6:00 am Eastern Time the following morning.

The purpose of this email is to give everyone one last reminder to leave a review.

Here is the copy I suggest you use:

SUBJECT: Launch Day!


I just wanted to send you a quick reminder that today my new book *[TITLE OF THE BOOK*] is available! This means you’re now able to leave a review.

Click here to leave an Amazon customer review for my new book. [<— Link that sentence to the actual review page on]

Thanks so much for helping me with this launch! I truly appreciate it.

And please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you!


Keep the email short and be sure to include a link directly to where they can leave their review on Amazon.

You want to make the path between your email and their review as short as possible.

How it works: The people who agreed to review your book are well-meaning, but are apt to forget about your launch.

This final reminder email will make sure many of them follow through.

8. Send a personalized follow-up email.
After the first week of your launch, send every single person on your list who posted a review (even if they didn’t post it on launch day) a personalized Thank You email.

Each of them took the time to read your book and to leave a review, and that deserves a big Thank You!

Bonus Tip: Mail each of them a handwritten Thank You note!


That’s it — that’s the entire process!

It’s not difficult or complex, just a bit time-consuming.

To help it all run more quickly and smoothly for you, I’ve created a downloadable package that includes:

  • A sample spreadsheet, so you can see how to track all of your reviewers
  • A PDF containing all of the email content
  • A PDF with instructions on how to download .EPUB, .MOBI and .PDF files onto electronic readers

Download the Amazon Review Package.

Featured by Christian Small Publishers Association

Certa Publishing was recently featured in the Christian Small Publishers Association newsletter.

Have you ever had a dream, but never truly believed it could become a reality? Did God call you to do something, yet others told you it couldn’t be done?

This is the story behind Certa Publishing and its founder and CEO, Jennifer Smothers. After working in the Christian book-publishing industry for many years and helping to develop a well-known self-publishing company, Jennifer felt called by God to start her own book publishing company. When the doors to this very opportunity were opened, Jennifer jumped in with both feet.

“Certa” is Latin for reliable and faithful. The name was specifically chosen to reflect God’s assurance to His people. For this reason, from its inception, Jennifer understood Certa would be held to a higher standard than other selfpublishing companies. Certa’s mission is to only publish kingdom-minded books, ones that would positively impact God’s people—bringing healing, restoration, and salvation. Each manuscript submission is carefully evaluated to determine if they meet Certa’s high standards—or those standards that would serve to honor God. Certa is adamant about not publishing books that contradict the Word of God.

Since opening its doors in March of 2014, Certa Publishing has published over 45 titles, with several more currently in production. Certa has been blessed with incredible authors, who earnestly strive to serve God with all of their hearts. With a staff that also desires to glorify God, the publishing process becomes a true labor of love for both staff and author. With Certa, authors acquire professional guidance, lasting relationships, and a professional, marketable end product. But the author gets even more than they ever anticipated—a team who celebrates each victory with them every step of the way! For Certa, it’s all about expanding the kingdom of God and this will continue be the driving force that propels the company in the years to come!

Certa Publishing can be found online at

Be writing. Be read.

Did you know we have a newsletter?

Whether you’re thinking of submitting your first manuscript, working on marketing an older release, publishing a third book, or anywhere in between, we want to inspire and aid you along the way.

Be writing. Be read. is a newsletter designed to help you along, every step of the way, no matter where you are in the process. It’s full of helpful articles to inform and motivate, encouraging stories from fellow writers, your own questions answered, and much more. Be writing. Be read. is more than just another email to flood your inbox twice a month. We genuinely hope for it to be a blessing and a resource for you along your writing, editing, publishing, and marketing journey.

Sign up here to get the newsletter right to your inbox!

Marketing Your Way To Success

So many times an author writes a great book and believes, wholeheartedly, it will sell off the shelves and help thousands of people. While many of them do sell, great success is rarely seen without enormous effort. Although, writing, editing, and publishing a book takes determination, the work doesn’t stop when the product is in your hands. Don’t let your book fizzle-out before it has the opportunity to catch ablaze.

Joel Osteen once said, “You cannot expect victory and plan for defeat.” But what does that mean? How does an author “plan for defeat?” One of the biggest ways is by failing to have a marketing plan in place.

Social media marketing is an extremely powerful way to find followers, create relationships, and consequently, create book sales. If you don’t have your own Twitter account or a Facebook page for your book, start there. Create accounts, find your friends, and search for other accounts that are related to your book’s topic and target audience. When marketing on social media platforms, it is important to be sure you are not just trying to create a financial transaction. Nowadays, people don’t like to be beat over the head with sales. They want a relationship. They want to know, “What’s in it for me?” So encourage them, teach them, and let them know you’re the expert in your field. Post quotes from your book, retweet encouraging information, links to helpful articles or videos on your topic, tell a short but funny story, research what other authors of similar books are doing and determine the pros and cons. The options are endless! When it comes to social media, engagement is imperative. Every time you comment on someone else’s posts or tweets, you are going to pop up on that person’s followers’ feeds and pages. When applicable, make sure to tastefully place your book link at the end.

To quote Tom Althouse, “If you feel like giving up, give up on that feeling and give into the realization there are endless possibilities waiting to be discovered before you.” This may be your feeling on marketing, but try to think differently. Take on the challenge of learning how to market your book. Research and read about techniques, dive into different strategies, and never be afraid to ask questions. Most importantly, let your enthusiasm for your book carry over into your marketing – expect success and act upon it!



– Article written by Emiley Jones –

Rejection Can Reinforce Your Resolve



Ever mused about how a movie didn’t end the way you wanted? Have you complained about a restaurant and convinced your friends not to dine there? Did you ever read an employer’s email or a friend’s poem and feel the need to critique its structure?

Chances are that you’ve done your share of rejecting the work of others. One of the most difficult parts of the writing process is dealing with rejection. When it comes to creativity, every work of art will be rejected at some point. Even if the creator is satisfied with his product, the audience may not receive it in the same warm way. The article you just submitted might be ignored, your dissertation draft may come back to you with more revisions than praise, your friend could miss every joke in your comedic short story, and all ten publishers where you sent your manuscript may respond: “not quite.” No matter the details, everyone’s work is one day met with rejection.

Although it hurts and may bruise your artistic ego, rejection doesn’t have to discourage you.

The way you respond to the inevitable rejection of your work is the key. If you truly believe in your mission and have a passion for your work, don’t give up! Instead, try harder and regain your focus. With the pain of rejection comes toughened skin, determination to excel, time to develop your product, and hone your skill. Jessica Olien writes, “Truly creative ideas take a very long time to be accepted. The better the idea, the longer it might take.” Think back to the days of writing essays for school. Did those long nights of cramming words together till the hour before class result in your most prized essays? Not likely. Instead, the assignments you were most proud of were developed over time, with time allotted for reflection and input and—you guessed it—rejection. It may have come from your peers or employers, or as a result of self-examination. An artist is his own number one critic. The way you accept or reject your own work is one of the best gauges of its completion.

While rejection is hard, especially for writers and other creatives, it is effective in taking your work to the next level. David Burkis writes, “Being rejected is often a statement that you (or your ideas) are too far from the current mainstream to be considered safe or comfortable. This could actually be a good thing. You’re ahead of your time. While the group or client may not believe they need you right away, the world probably does.” Don’t think of moments of rejection as roadblocks. Think of them as detour signs that take you on the scenic route, resulting in more creativity. If you have the resolve and the gumption, rejection will only strengthen the final product of your perseverance!

– Article written by Emiley Jones –

What to Expect When Hiring an Illustrator


Congratulations! Your book is finished, near finished, or off to a good start. It’s time to think about art. You’re a great writer, but few writers have ever hired an illustrator. Where do you find an artist? How do you find the right artist and how do you go about hiring one?

Finding an artist is much like finding a doctor, lawyer or any other professional service provider. You’ll want someone who meets your professional standards, serves you in a way that builds up your trust, and treats you with respect. Ultimately, you (and your book) will be best served by contracting a professional artist who is a collaborator.

A collaborator is an artist who accepts your project with enthusiasm and a sincere belief in your book. An artist that is excited about your work will always produce his or her best work.

Finding an artist is easy enough, given the internet and the thousands of online portfolios to peruse. You may find a link to an artist on the CSPA website, or do a search specific to your need, for example: “children’s illustrator,” “traditional painter,” “calligrapher,” “animal artist,” etc. But hiring and working with a professional artist is likely new territory for you.

A professional is someone who meets deadlines, stays on budget, and delivers print or web quality art. Quality is subjective and there are broad ranges of styles to consider. A sketchy, loose style is every bit as professional as a highly polished oil painting; it simply depends on your preference and your book’s genre.

What exactly should you expect when hiring an illustrator? First, you should share your ideas with the artist and find out if you are a good team. You will want to work with someone with whom you are comfortable (e.g., a collaborator).  Next, you should discuss concept and style (realistic, cutesy, nostalgic, edgy, etc.). You’ll need to discuss ownership of art and rates. Artists usually prefer to retain all copyrights to their art (just as you would prefer for the text). If the artist agrees to do the art work-for-hire (WFH), wherein the writer (or publisher) buys the art, then you should expect to pay a premium for those rights. In any case, you should not expect the artist to work on speculation, or 100% royalties. The artist needs to be paid upon delivery of the work, just as your doctor, lawyer, grocer is paid upon delivery of their services or goods. If the project is long running, a pay schedule should be arranged. Some artists receive partial payment for sketches and a balance due upon delivery of the final art.

Prices vary, but you will get as good an artist as you are willing, or able, to pay. Some artists will abide by The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines (which are based on New York publishing industry rates), others charge less. You should expect to pay professional rates, the same as you expect when hiring a lawyer, doctor or building contractor. In turn, you will rightly expect the artist to provide nothing less than his or her highest quality of art (within an agreeable and reasonable budget, as well as time frame).

Now for the real work of finding, and working with, an artist. You’ve likely already decided on “the look”. Let’s use an example of a young reader novel, intended for 12 to 15 year old girls. It features a horse, a 13-year-old girl and her grandmother in a Kentucky bluegrass setting. You want a beautiful cover showing the girl and her horse. The interior art might be a half dozen, one color (grayscale) pencil drawings, in a realistic, but soft style. You can do an online search for artists, using keywords like “horse illustration”, “book illustrators”, etc. You will be treated to a full range of artists, perhaps many right in your home town. When you find some you like, simply call or email to get the conversation going.

Be clear about your needs! If you need a cover, specify whether it is only the front, or if it should wrap around the spine and back. Will the artist be responsible for type? If so, the artist is not responsible for spelling or proof-reading, no matter how simple the words. Be clear about the quantity. If you hire an artist to do six illustrations, they will budget and quote for six. Anything more than six will incur extra fees. Discuss the rights purchased, and expect the artist to write a contract defining those rights, along with rates, deadlines, etc.

Expect the artist to provide preliminary sketches. These are rough, but legible, pencil sketches that should give a very good idea of what the final art will look like. They should not be scribbles, or thumbnails. Faces should be sketched, not just blank ovals, animals and scenery should be fleshed out. In other words, do not accept stick figures, as you will want to have a clear vision of the finished art. For highly detailed covers, a color comp (sketch with color) could be provided.

After reviewing the sketch, give the artist approval to proceed to final art. This is your call, you must be satisfied with this sketch and it’s the artist’s job to please you. In turn, you should be prepared to pay for excessive changes that were not directed in the original concept. If you discussed one girl with a horse standing beside a white fence, but then you add elements after the sketch arrives, you should pay for those added complexities. Some changes are expected: such as, make the girl’s hair shorter, the horse’s mane longer. These are “included” in the original rate. But if you add more girls and horses, a truck and trailer, and a picket-fenced, frame house in the background, you are asking for options that cost.

When the final art arrives, make sure it meets you expectations, and also remember the original agreement and budget. If you agreed to, and budgeted for, a loose, pastel watercolor scene for the cover, that is what you should get. This is where hiring a professional should minimize risk at the final art stage. If your professional has a long track record, an impressive client list, and an online portfolio of high quality pieces, you should be fine.

If the artist provided a traditional illustration, that is, an actual painting or drawing, and you contracted to pay for first publishing rights, then the art should be returned, at your expense, to the artist. If you paid for work-for-hire, it is your property and the artist has agreed to transfer all rights to you. Sometimes work-for-hire art is returned to the artist, but the artist cannot use, or sell it, without your permission. The artist should, however, be free to use it for self-promotion on a website, or mailings. This is standard and the artist should never be prohibited from using the art for self-promotion. Again, be aware that a Work for Hire Agreement should involve a premium, given the significant loss to the artist when giving up rights. Ideally, no artist should transfer his or her rights in a self-publishing contract, simply because self-publishers are almost always more limited in their budgets. Contracts should be another topic, for another day, as they can be quite involved. But the copyright issue should be thought through right from the start.

Also, be sure to cite the artist either on the cover, the back cover, or the copyright information page. If the artist retains the rights, the copyright should read like this:

Cover and Interior Illustrations © 2013 Jane Doe

Working with an artist is a professional, contractual relationship, but it need not be cold and only business. It should be the beginning of a trusting, healthy working relationship. If you find an artist who is in sync with you, your work and your vision, then you will find a fellow creative who will go many extra miles to make your work shine.

The following points summarize the process of hiring an artist:

  • Review online portfolios
  • Contact the artist
  • Clarify your needs
  • Agree on the terms (rate, rights, and deadlines)
  • Review sketches
  • Okay the final art
  • Receive beautiful, production-ready art
  • Pay promptly upon acceptance

Article submitted by Edward Koehler. To find out more about Ed, please visit: